Course Design

I want to help you design and install disc golf courses in your town. It is easy for me but I know it can seem like a real challenge for folks who are new to the game. You are invited to call on me for your turnkey disc golf course or you can do it yourself with a few guidelines. Here is how you can do it. 

Google earth is a great resource for searching out parks and open areas in your town. Start here and identify as many potential locations as you can. Pick the seemingly most ideal locations and list and print two eight by tens of them accordingly.

Get a long distance driver and a few marking flags and go to the first best location. Is it a pre-existing park? Is it private? Do you need permission to access? Find out, call the person or organization who controls the property and let them know what your intentions are. Dont limit yourself to public properties. You never know who your supporters are. If you believe the area will be enhanced with a disc golf course, others will too. If it is a private situation, definitely contact the owner first. 

If its a park or public land, I like to walk the property and rough out a layout and a plan of action and write a proposal tailored to the governing body whoever that may be. It could be town or city, Parks and Recreation, Bureau of Land Management or Forestry Service.

Determine the best potential access point to the property. Don't limit yourself to one possibility. Determine the dangerous areas that will be avoided including streets, waterways, arroyos and protected areas. Designing the course should respect the neighboring businesses and residential areas. No one wants strangers climbing their fences and walls to retrieve errant discs so the chances of this happening should be minimized through design. Determine the features that you want to bring into play and imagine your layout catching as many of those features as you can.

Since the most primary throw is the right handed backhand, the rule for the safest direction around a property perimeter is counter clockwise. Use this rule if possible. 

How many acres make the property? A good minimum measure of how many holes can be installed for a competitive venue is one acre per hole in my opinion. Although small courses can be fun and challenging, larger and longer is better for high level competition. Exceptional courses like The Sinks in Chattanooga which are very tight very technical and squeezed into eighteen acres of privet can definitely present world class challenges. 9 holes courses can be great on smaller properties. These smaller courses can be fleshed out to eighteen with the consideration of adding a second tee pad on each hole where possible. Larger venues can cover thirty to forty acres and should incorporate two or three tee pad locatons per hole. The goal is make the best use of the available space without crossing fairways over fairways.

Now you are ready to choose the location of teepad number one and number ten and basket number nine and eighteen. These four hole should flow to and from the proposed entrance/parking area if possible. Place two marking flags representing teepad one. Look for a line of sight that utilizes the space efficiently within the boundaries of the property. This is where I throw my disc and see how it feels and where it goes. I can control my distances when I throw so I can use my throw to determine hole locations and distances. You can bring a three hundred foot measuring tape if that suits you. I mainly want to know where three hundred feet lands me so I can use google earth with more accuracy. So I've thrown from hole one and hole ten and I've thrown to hole nine and to hole eighteen. Draw the lines on your google earth print of the property. Now you are ready to pencil in a course layout that fits into these four landmarks. Walk and throw your penciled course making notes of what obstacles are encountered, modifications to be made, alternate tee pads, B and C pin location possibilities. Flag your tee areas and basket locations with different colored flags. Par three Hole distances should vary from 195 to 500 feet but there are no rules governing this. Many pro level courses  have par four and par five holes 800 to 1100 feet.

Now you have your course map and you are ready make your proposal, find sponsors and build it. Make scorecards with the course map and hole distances on the back and give them to local businesses and potential sponsors. The cost of eighteen permanent baskets is around $5500 wholesale. Let sponsors know this cost is why you are initially raising funds and that a $500 sponsor will get brand representation on hole signs when the course and sponsor list is complete. You can place the baskets right away upon sponsorship and take your time getting quality tee pads installed. As long as there is a clear, somewhat level  five by ten foot or larger area from which to tee, you are good to go.

Your course is ready to play. Now its time to give the scorecards and course maps to local schools and recreation centers. The club that emerges will help with tee pad labor or you may do this yourself or you might even get paid to hire a crew. Hole signs will come with continued sponsorship. Each situation is unique and your willingness to see the project through is the determining factor of success.

You can go to and order the official rules of play and you can qualify to run sanctioned events at your course.


Dave's Tips #3

Aim for the Apex of your flight line aligning your disc's release angle with the apex's descent angle pointing toward your target.


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